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Choco Chocolate Store
I don't even know why I do this!
Every year during Christmas and Chanukah time I walk around the mall and hand out candy canes to people who are ungrateful of my holiday cheer.
"Hello there!" I said to a women who looked as though she were a man. She looked at me as if I was strange. "Here, why don't you have a candy cane to celebrate the holidays! Happy holidays!" I stuck out my hand, showing her the candy cane. The women took it from my grasp and walked away without saying a word. I turned around to see her throw away the candy I had just given to her. I felt like marching up to her and yelling in her face, nevertheless, I held back the temptation. I was better then that!
I stood in the middle of the food court, watching people eat their food and converse with one another. Most children, when I graciously give them a candy cane, they look at me as if I should hand them an iPod or cell phone instead. I hear them talk about me behind my back. "What a weird old man!" I heard a person say one time.
I pulled out my Christmas list in my red jacket pocket, and looked at all the names on my Christmas list. I had more people on my list then anyone in the world! I shook my head as I saw what the children wanted. A big screen TV, a DVD player, cell phone, laptop, play station three, iPod, the iPhone, a new computer, a phone, and so much more. Although all of my Christmas shopping is already done. Kids now a days do not know how lucky they are. Yes, I know my complaining will do absolutely nothing, my job is just to hand out gifts, right? Wrong. I am more then that. My mission is to spread holiday cheer, and teach about Jesus.
"Hello, young child." I said, as a young boy of thirteen passed by. He looked at me with absurd eyes that told me not to talk to him anymore. I didn't listen to his eyes, but kept on talking. "What would you like for Christmas this year?"
"I want a chocolate cell phone, dell laptop, a play station three, and for you to stop talking to me you freak!" the boy ran away, laughing as he looked back at me. I sighed, knowing that Christmas will never be the same anymore. I went into my pocket and got out red gloves and put them on. My red coat was already surrounding my plump body.
I opened the door for myself, and with a shiver I walked to the parking lot. My rosy red cheeks numb from the coldness. The wind blew my white beard into my face now and again, and yet, I still kept walking.
My feet became sore from slipping in the ice and so I decided to take a break. I walked into a run down store called 'Choco Chocolate Store'. A bell rang when I opened the door as I shook my feet to elude some of the snow that was on me. I looked in front of myself, seeing a sweet-looking eleven year old girl resting on a bench. I walked over to her and sat beside her.
"My dear, why do you look so sad? Today is Christmas Eve!" I said to the young child. I could feel her pain as though it was my own.
"Yes, I know, Nick." She said, taking a small intake of breath before she continued. "But what is the use of having Christmas when you have no one to celebrate it with?"
"My child, you have me. But more importantly you have Jesus! He is in your heart, he is in my heart, he is in everyone's heart! Whether you believe it or not. Now, cheer up! Tell me what you would like for Christmas?"
"There is nothing in this world that I would like better then to have my mother return from war." The child's words struck me. I was able to make children iPods, MP3's, and laptops, but I knew that I could not give this child what she truly desired. I looked away from the child, shamefaced at my own weakness.
"I cannot grant you that desire that you yearn for. And I know that this would not make up for it, but anyways…" My voice trailed off, as I handed the girl a candy cane. She took it, telling me her appreciation of the candy I had given her. There is nothing in the world, I know, that will make up for her mother's absents.
"What are the strips for, I always wonder?" The girl asked.
"Look at me, my dear." I said, as she faced me. I lifted the candy cane into my hand and turned it upside down. "Does this look familiar?"
The girl hesitated before she responded with the correct answer.
"It looks like the letter J." She said.
"Right. A J for Jesus, who is our savor, and was born on Christmas day! Now what does it look like now?" I asked, as I turned the candy cane once more.
"A cane?" She asked, not sure of her response.
"Not just a cane, my child. The Shepard's cane because they were the first to know the birth of Jesus." I broached,
"Yes, I see. But what are the strips for?" She examined the piece of candy.
"The white is for the flesh of Jesus, and the red is his blood that was shed when he was crucified and tortured." I explained to the young girl.
"Nick," said the young girl. I turned and faced her. "For Christmas, I would like my mother to be protected by Jesus. Can you tell Him that?"
"Yes, I could, and I will." A tear dripped down my face and then hid in my snow white beard.
"Nick, I would also like for Christmas for my mom to learn the story of the candy cane. Will you be able to tell her?" She asked me. I didn't know what to say. I would be unable to tell her brave mother about the story of the candy cane. But then, a thought occurred to me.
"Promise me one thing before I depart," I said as the child looked at me. "When your mother comes home from battle, you can tell her the story of the candy cane. You make it a tradition."
The young girl nodded her head.
"But, I am still going to be lonely on Christmas day. You won't be able to accompany me, you will be to busy. No mother on Christmas is like not having a Christmas at all." The girl looked at the ground. I put my hand on her shoulder to comfort her, even though there would be nothing more that she would desire better then to have her mother's hand on her back instead of mine. I smiled as I heard the ringing of the entrance bell, accompanied by a women in uniform. She was right on time.
"Now you can start the tradition of the story of the candy cane, Rose." I whispered in Rose's ears as she looked in front of her. Tears streamed down her face as Rose raced toward her mother.
"Rose!" Her mother cried.
The soldier embraced her child. I watched the congregation, still sitting on the couch and enjoying the presence of a child who truly knew what Christmas meant. And I do not mean the candy cane, I do not mean the presents. The birth of Jesus is the celebration in which no one should be alone and is the true meaning of Christmas.
I looked at my watch and knew that I soon must leave. I have a big night ahead of me.
"Mom," the young girl cried. "I would like you to meet someone."
The child and mother stood. Rose guided her mother to the bench where I had been sitting. But I was no longer there. I saw the young girl look out the door and saw me for the last time of her life. And I knew that whomever she would tell, they would not believe her.
"Thank you!" She shouted to me. "For bringing my mother back to me!"
"Honey," her mother pulled her daughter closer to her so that they were exchanging their warmth to one another. "Who are you talking too?"
Rose walked out of the store and did not even see my footprints because there was nothing left behind from my presence but the note that was left in her heart that I was real. The reality that I am real! I am real in everyone's heart!
"Who were you talking too?" Her mother asked again as she followed her daughter out of the run down shop.
"I was talking to," the young girl said, and it still rings in my head till this day, "I was talking to Santa Clause."